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Optimists laud young orators, writers

MADISON – Following its annual tradition and pledge to nurture youth, Optimist Club of Madison recently coordinated the 2018 Essay and Oratorical Contests, open to students in area high schools.

Winners in the essay contest were Ethan Worchester in first place, Kimberly Campbell in second place and Casey Kula capturing honors in third. Worchester and Kula are students at Bob Jones High School. Campbell attends James Clemens High School.

In the oratorical contest, Ryan Williams claimed first place, followed by Samuel Christopher as second-place winner. In addition, Williams won the North and Central Alabama Regional competitions. Williams and Christopher both are Bob Jones students.

Scott Piro, Optimist Club President, presented awards to the students.

“Both contests centered around serving country, community and family by approaching everything we do with a positive attitude,” Optimist Publicist Vic van Leeuwen said.

Paige Ann Hale, a Madison pre-schooler, promoted the contests’ literary themes by dressing as Dr. Seuss’ “Cat in the Hat” character for the Optimist events. Paige’s parents are Brandon and Lanie Hale. Grandparents are Vic and Ann van Leeuwen.

In other annual service projects, Madison Optimist Club awards grants to outstanding and deserving school programs. This summer, Optimists presented grants totaling $1,150 to organizations at James Clemens, Bob Jones, Discovery and Liberty middle schools, West Madison Elementary School and Madison City Schools First Class Pre-Kindergarten Center.

“These grants are intended to provide the clubs (and students) with funds to further the aims of the individual organizations,” van Leeuwen said. James Clemens groups received two grants; Bob Jones, four; Discovery, two; and one each to Liberty, West Madison and Pre-K Center.

“The organizations ranged from libraries to counseling, mental health, math and Spanish,” van Leeuwen said. “The Optimist Club of Madison feels that direct support of these and other MCS organizations provide the maximum effect for the students and the club.”

Optimist Club of Madison meets monthly on third Tuesdays at 6 p.m. at Madison Public Library. For information, call 256-772-8148 or 256-461-8787.

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